Las Vegas Supercross Race Report 2016

Dungey closes out the season with a win; Stewart and Webb claim 250 titles

Ryan Dungey, Las Vegas Supercross 2016
Ryan Dungey overcame a collision with Ken Roczen to win his ninth main event of the season.Photo By Rich Shepherd

The 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series wrapped up under rather unusual conditions this weekend in Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium when an all-day rain turned the normally dry racing surface into a muddy quagmire, making each of the main events a battle for survival. The funny thing is, we all went into the series opener at Anaheim expecting a mud race and we didn’t get it until the final round of the season!

In the 450 class, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey proved why he’s so deserving of a third SX title by overcoming a mid-race crash with Ken Roczen to claim a career-best ninth win of the season. Meanwhile, the 250SX Class East/West Shootout, which for the first time in 20 years combined the east and west main events into one race, saw Joey Savatgy excel in the muck and ride away with his third win of the season. The win was not enough to give the Georgia rider the title, however, as Savatgy came up just one point shy while Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb wrapped up his second West Regional championship in a row with an 11th place finish.

GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart walked away with the East Regional title after finishing third behind Savatgy and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Zach Osborne in a race that saw all three Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha riders suffer difficulties. Stewart’s title meant that he and his brother, James, are the first siblings to each win a title in Monster Energy Supercross history.

Ryan Dungey, Las Vegas Supercross 2016
Dungey claimed a personal best nine main event wins in 2016.Photo By Rich Shepherd

450SX

With two-straight main event wins in his back pocket, RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing's Ken Roczen came into Vegas looking to close out the season on a high note heading into the outdoor series. However, Dungey put himself in great position to take the “W” by grabbing the holeshot to start the shortened, 16-lap main event. Roczen followed in second with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Jason Anderson in third.

Roczen managed to pass Dungey a few laps into the race and appeared to be on his way to a third-straight win when he cased it over a jump. Dungey had nowhere to go and plowed right into Roczen’s bike, putting both riders on the ground. Dungey was the first to get away, however, and retook the lead, while Roczen rode into the mechanics area with a bent motorcycle and called it a night.

Ken Roczen, Las Vegas SX 2016
Ken Roczen briefly took the lead away from Dungey but cased a jump before the end of the lap and went down, putting an end to his race.Photo By Rich Shepherd

Late in the race, with lappers clogging up the soggy, rutted course, Anderson was able to close in a bit on Dungey, but the KTM rider was able to capitalize on an Anderson mistake to pull away and finish the race with 12 seconds to spare over the Husky rider to take the win.

"We really focused on the last couple races of the season to get the championship. We wanted to end the season strong and that was the goal tonight," said Dungey. "These were definitely the toughest conditions of the season. Ken was putting on a charge and riding well, but he made a mistake and I had nowhere to go. Thankfully I was able to get up and get going again, and finish strong. I'm really glad we came out on top tonight."

Anderson held on to claim second, 25 seconds ahead of Eli Tomac, and finished out the season third overall in the point standings.

“I feel like I had a good little rhythm through the whoops and that was helping me out a lot,” said Anderson. “I was pretty comfortable out there, but the lappers made it really tough when I got around them. All in all it was a pretty good finish to my sophomore season."

Jason Anderson, Las Vegas SX 2016
Jason Anderson gave Dungey a run for his money late in the race but a slipup for the Husqvarna rider to settle for second.Photos By Rich Shepherd

Tomac continued his run of podium finishes, his third place finish in Vegas making three straight trips to the box. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider rounded the first turn in fifth but before the end of the first lap he had moved up into third, then went down and dropped back to ninth, but immediately put his head down and started working towards the front, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Monster Energy, 360 Fly, Chaparral, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Chad Reed in fourth.

“The conditions changed here in Las Vegas more than I’ve ever seen,” said Tomac. “We started the day with a track that flowed really well and was in great condition. Then the rain started and we missed the second practice. The Night Show became an absolute mudder and one of the most challenging Monster Energy Supercross races of my career. I’m fortunate to get out of here with a third and I’m really excited to leave the season with a few podiums and some momentum for next year.”

Eli Tomac, Las Vegas SX 2016
Eli Tomac claimed his third podium finish in a row in Vegas, finishing third behind Anderson.Photos By Rich Shepherd

The final results saw Dungey finish with 391 points and nine wins, Roczen was second with 331 points and five wins, while Anderson was third with 315 points and two wins. Tomac was fourth with 290 points and one win.

The 250SX East/West Shootout gets off the line.
The 250SX East/West Shootout gets underway in less than desirable conditions.Photos By Rich Shepherd

250SX Class East/West Shootout

In addition to shortening the evening program, combining the east and west main events into the East/West Shootout made for a very exciting race.

Joey Savatgy looked strong all day in the mud and after running away with the West Regional heat race, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider grabbed the holeshot to start the 12-lap main (shortened from 15 due to the track conditions). CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha’s Colt Nichols gave Savatgy a scare by passing the Kawi rider on lap two, but Savatgy was soon back in front and running away with the race.

Malcolm Stewart, Las Vegas Supercross 2016
Malcolm Stewart finished third, giving him more than enough points to claim the East Regional 250SX title.Photos By Rich Shepherd

The West Regional points leader, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb, who was still dealing with the effects of a recently broken bone in his wrist, crashed on lap one of the main (landing on his sore wrist) and started the race at the back of the pack. His teammate Jeremy Martin crashed as well.

Out front, Nichols ran second to Savatgy until the midway point of the race, when a bobble in the whoops allowed Malcolm Stewart to move into second. On lap nine, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Zach Osborne passed Stewart to take over second after moving up all the way from 12th on the opening lap.

Savatgy took the win, his third of the year, by nearly seven seconds over Osborne, with Stewart edging out Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Aaron Plessinger at the line for third.

Webb finished 11th to beat out Savatgy for the championship by a single point to become the first rider since Justin Barcia in 2011 and 2012 to win back-to-back 250SX Class regional titles.

"It definitely wasn't easy, but we fought for it and that's why we're up here with the number one plate," said Webb. "We fought hard all season and I wasn't going to let an injury hold me back. I had a crash while training for the race but I had to come here and get it done."

Cooper Webb, Las Vegas Supercross 2016
Cooper Webb fell on the opening lap of the 250SX East/West Shootout but managed an 11th place finish to take the West Regional title by a single point over Joey Savatgy.Photos By Rich Shepherd

Savatgy was glad to get the win but disappointed to lose the title.

"It was a good race but it's setting in now that I didn't win the championship and it's a little disappointing," said Savatgy. "We ended the year on a good note and we did what we had to do tonight. Cooper came in here and did what he had to do as well, and hats off to him. It's just good to end the year in this way."

Osborne held off Stewart to finish second.

“Today had a great end result,” said Osborne. “I was third-fastest in practice before the rain came. The night show started pretty rough. I crashed in the first turn in the heat race and had to go to the LCQ. I didn’t fall in the first turn of the main but did get caught up in that little melee. I came from 17th to 2nd - 6 seconds out of the win. I’m pretty happy with how it went and I feel like I rode well. I’m looking forward to carrying this momentum into Hangtown.”

Stewart’s third was more than good enough to take the East Regional title.

"That was crazy right there, what a race," said Stewart. "Everything I've gone through with myself and James this year, it's been an up and down season for both of us. I feel like I owe half of this championship to him. I'm just speechless right now. All I know is I have this number one plate right now and I want to cry."

Joey Savatgy, Las Vegas Supercross 2016
Joey Savatgy led all but one of the 12-lap 250SX main event en route to his third win of the season.Photos By Rich Shepherd

RESULTS

450 SX

  1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM

  2. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna

  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki

  4. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha

  5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki

  6. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki

  7. Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., KTM

  8. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda

  9. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda

  10. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha

250SX Class East/West Shootout

  1. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki

  2. Zach Osborne, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Husqvarna

  3. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda

  4. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha

  5. Gannon Audette, Tallahassee, Fla., Kawasaki

  6. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha

  7. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki

  8. Christian Craig, Corona, Calif., Honda

  9. Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha

  10. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna